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February 08 , 2010

Bolsa-Escola, history, theory and utopia


The Bolsa-Escola is probably the most important educational-policy initiative of the last few decades. It is not by chance that its author is Brazilian (and Latin American). Our Region has the unfortunate privilege of being the most unequal in the world, but the dissemination of the Bolsa-Escola is permitting millions of boys and girls who were born into poor homes to change their lives. We owe profound recognition to Cristovam Buarque for having designed that project and driven it with such passion and enthusiasm. Now, we also owe him thanks for giving us the gift of a book that permits us to understand the history, the magnitude and the theoretic fundamentals that justified that initiative.” Juan Carlos Tedesco, ex-Minister of Education of Argentina. “There exists an intellectual governing in Brasília, a guy who is going around there pursuing consensus and some coherence between what he wrote and the decrees in the Official Gazette.” Journalist Ricardo Amaral, O Estado de São Paulo, July 31, 1996. “The Governor of the Federal District is putting into practice an educational program that is drawing praise from the specialists. It is the Bolsa-Escola, which gives the poor families of Brasília 120 reais at the end of the month as long as the children are attending school regularly.” Veja Magazine, October 8, 1997. “In Brazil a successful pilot scheme called Bolsa-Escola pays subsidies to poor families if all their children regularly attend school. This is the kind of scheme that could be implemented on a larger scale with international assistance.” George Soros, On Globalization, 2002.
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